hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Angel

I knew he was special from the moment I laid eyes on him, but then what parent does not say that.

A free spirit, he was happy and he made people around him smile. My only complaint, the only problem he ever presented was he was too sensitive and caring. I knew I was in for battles. I, who did not have the optimism and high expectations in regards to others. How could I have two children who believed overall people are good..just like my father their grandfather.

Life happens, you grow and you change. It was no different for him. I would one day look back and realize everyone has challenges, even chosen ones. Books and movies suggest these special humans live a charmed life, I submit to you they simply live life. I bit my lip and resisted the need to interfere, besides he already had a fighter standing guard over him a “pit-bull” father.

He settled in and the storms seemed to subside, he began to be who he was intended to be. The form changed, the canvas was illuminated. He conquered and completed, worries were put on the back burner. I now settled into a comfort zone.

Silence and calm shattered at 3:25.A.M. on Sunday January 14, 2018. Time both flew by and stood still simultaneously. When the doctors told us they could NOT save him I felt my heart stop, I could not breathe, I could not scream like I wanted to, I could not comprehend. All I could do is look around at his father and his lovely lady collapsing. I had to hold them up, but how  for I was lost in a flood of emotion I still cannot decipher. All I had was hurt and pain, I was drowning in it.

24 hours later I was numb and confused, damaged beyond repair life was continuing on. I did not know how, but it continued just the same. He showed me he was still nearby in a cautious yet undeniable way, he knew I would be a skeptic. Not one act but several.  First it was a subtle “tug on the coat-tail”, followed by stronger indicators, when he had my full attention I simply allowed myself to be encompassed in his essence. It was powerful, heart-wrenching and seemed to go on for an incredibly long time. I left the space feeling there would most certainly be more contact, I had to prepare for the next time. However, when I returned it was all gone. There was no sign of anything, it felt empty as a warehouse just not as cold.

Only something supernatural could carry you from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. My boy had been here, he lived, loved, experienced, and influenced. I witnessed it from the front row, but now I would argue he was anywhere. The electricity of his life was erased, but it did not feel bad. I realized he was existing at the next level. He wanted to let me know he was here with me, but we now had to exist apart. He knew the only way for me to let go and accept this would be for me NOT to have something to hold on to. I could not have the little or big contact. My child was making me stand on my own and that is when I realized I had been privy to an existence with angel. The time was real , it was engaging, it was powerful, it was beautiful and as all existence, finite.

I will love and miss him; my angel forever.

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Hello/Good-Bye

Ah yes here we are again, the beginning of a new year. Yet it all feels the same. We start off filled with hope and aspirations, we look forward to a year not like the one that just passed. However, by the time December 31st rolls around again, if we are fortunate enough to be here, we will likely reflect upon what we want for the upcoming year and how glad we are to see the current one go.

Maybe we put too much stress on what is to come, in spite of the fact we have no idea what is ahead. Tallulah Bankhead once said,” If I had my life to live over again, I would make the same mistakes, only sooner”.  Interesting thought as we reflect on regrets and triumphs. What will you do with this year? As we take these strides forward at ever increasing speeds, in a hurry for this date to pass, this milestone to arrive, we should bear in mind we are pressing time to pass for us,  ultimately taking us to the place we will no longer be.

Slow down, admire, absorb; try your best to live each day as it is meant to be lived, one day at a time.

VENOM

I have not felt so much hatred as I do in these days. It is infecting and the affects are everywhere. I worry about the innocents. We, old sullen beings can battle it out, but what of the babies? My heart is racing as that thought occurs. I want to be positive, but that is not going to be easy. There is a negative fog looming, but no one wants to budge. The first one who does shows weakness, vulnerability..I get that but what seems to be escaping us all is, we are all weak and vulnerable.

What I see happening is we are all having to think again. In our technologically advanced life we have these gadget to think for us under the guise of making things easier and moving faster. What we have ignored or failed to realize is, our capacity to think is diminishing with every keystroke. Those once passing thoughts become a permanent mark, a point of reference that can and will come back to haunt us, lest we hit the delete button as fast as we share. Mean-spirited, hurtful talk, bullying are difficult to challenge in the “trenches”, when the so-called leader(s) of this nation practice the behavior readily.

The venom is everywhere. Since”truth” has become a questionable concept, and lies have been redefined in a manner that makes them seemingly acceptable, at the very least excusable; the venom has a place to grow and thrive. there is a simple solution. Cut off that “snakes head”. Do not accept this distasteful, undesirable talk. Inaccurate, unreliable statements should be called by their correct name; LIES! Remember when LIES were bad things? Now they are simply vehicles to buy time until you have an excuse for whatever the lie is about. You are called a liar (in a tactful way), and then we move on and seemingly forward. Without any ramifications or repercussions other that YOU being called a liar, what is next? Now that liar is an abstract thought, how valuable is truth?

Contracts are meaningless, promises are just things to say…where is our protection. Think about it. “Truth in lending”, your child’s education, a job you contracted for, attorney client privilege, doctor/ patient relationships ALL can potentially be put under fire. Until then we are forced to navigate carefully, hopefully avoiding the venom but anxiously awaiting the anti-venom’s arrival.

And That Feels Good

Ahh..the sign of relief, the taking in of a deep breath. What a feeling! Meeting my daily walk challenge is satisfying, but a quick sprint is phenomenal. The distant grandchild who is finally coming around; there has always been love, but the way your heart fills when you are told YOU were the subject of her “show and tell” presentation about Why “this”is special. Reconnecting with friends from the past, you can never go back but being among folks who can bear witness to that time, makes that time come alive in you again.

Right now there is a need for something to give you comfort. Perhaps a hug or a movie that makes you laugh and cry… As I held the huge padded notebook that contained legal documents, I began to cry. I felt the tears well, I felt the ache in my chest and the lump in my throat rose and began to choke me. The silent wails were a millisecond away.  There I was cowering in my closet alone. I let go and then I rapidly reeled the feelings back in. I was surprised as I discovered, while I clutched that notebook, I felt comfort and I had missed that so much. I had spent the last year running from the fact, that I forgot how good that comfort felt.

LaLaLa…

I really did not want to think there was any feeling left. Yet a year almost to the day I told myself, “no more EVER”, a simple poke made my day. Emotionless at first,  then I felt rather smug and though I did not even respond, out of the blue I was able to relive our encounters. YIKES!

You truly “don’t miss the water till the well runs dry.” So he thinks about me, so what. It is a big deal, it was a big deal. I can still smell the cologne mixed with his pheromones , his well manicured hands, his beard (and I don’t even like beards) his soft intelligent speaking voice, his beautiful teeth, his eyes as he watched me walk, towards or away from him.

There’s a song, you may have heard it before,”LaLaLa Means I Love You” Well not anymore, but Once-Upon-A-Time….

Do you ever think of love(s) of your past? I don’t see anything wrong with it. As we creep closer and closer to the process of slowing down to an inevitable stop, we must do things that keep us aware of the fact that we were not always who we currently are.  Throughout our time the reaction to that fact will bring mixed feelings, but the flings and relationships of the past seem to have an electric energy. Powered by positive or negative emotions, they are invigorating  just the same.

I recall his face when I left him at the alter, The day I found out she was married, We had the best time at the prom, He handed me a dandelion by the lake.. You can add your own, but you know these times existed and they affected you.

The Decision Was Yours

If photographs tell a story, the body language is a chapter, why is the conclusion a surprise ending.

I sat across from you and our conversation was practically non existent.  We barely made eye contact, you who I prepare to share one of the most intimate experiences in daily life(eating), yet we have nothing to talk about??? What does this mean? How did it get to this? To me it sounds like the beginning of the end, but what about that surprise ending?

Logic in these situations is non-existent..  Now you want to make nice, now you want to sing “Kumbaya”, now it is different. We should be supportive and respectful, we should let bygones be bygones, get over it. All I can say/ do/ think is when the role was reverse..what did YOU do. Stop telling me I need to be the bigger person, stop telling me about moving forward,  stop telling me about God. YOU clearly have NO knowledge and NO right to even let a word that involves fairness or being right, come out of your mouth. YOU need to hear YOU are wrong and foul, YOU need to KNOW that whatever YOU get it is deserved. YOU made the bed now lie in it. .

I want YOU to understand that when you do someone wrong, when you disrespect someone, IT IS NOT YOUR JOB OR CHOICE OR PLACE OR RIGHT to tell them to forgive, forget, or be benevolent towards you because..well YOU are sorry. More like you are sorry YOU got caught. YOU have done the deed and YOU should get what you deserve..if it is mercy it will come from the higher power, for man is flawed as YOU well know. This did not happen by accident. Are you ready for the consequences?

Lost

It has almost been 4 months since my beloved mother passed. I have not really been able to do anything except go through the motions of life. Seasons are changing yet I am not affected. At any given moment I find tears rolling down my cheeks and a lump in my throat. There is a explosive political climate that I am disgusted with and I have moved it to a back burner, because I am lost.

Upon my awakening this morning, the thought of voting came to me. I felt a sense of understanding regarding people who chose not to, or ones who say,”Why should I,it doesn’t count.” That disturbed me immensely. I began reading critiques of a speech read by “45” and I thought, ” Really? Are people so easily swayed that one well read or improved reading of a speech prompted a feeling of, Well now that’s more like it in opposed to Hum what’s he up to now? This IS the same person and aside from a life changing event or experience, people (“45″ included)are all exactly  who and what we demonstrate we are.

We are being attacked on all sides, our only hope for survival is to continue to fight until this corrupt man and his administration is demolished. Their strategy is to exhaust us and when we are down, when we are taking a breather, then they will really do some damage.While I know I have reason to be lost and taking it easy, I have reason to push forward, light a fire under myself and say, ” The fight/resistance must continue and even as a wounded soldier YOU are still valuable.”

Therefore I am here; here to remind you broken, damaged, and weak I am  STILL here to fight along side of you until….

Tribute

For as long as I can remember, she was tall and strong. She commanded respect, you had better NOT cross her. She was my mom/our mom.There are four of us and each of us had a unique experience with her. So we can think of her collectively and as individuals. I know a great deal about her, yet there are mysteries that I will never be able to explain.

I watched her work by my father’s side, even though her wanted her to stay at home. She put the family first;  if he needed help he did not have to look far and it was the same for her. When we had cookouts, he manned the pit, but she was in the kitchen doing prep work.If he was under the hood changing the oil, she was holding the tools. If he cut the grass, she had the edger. She told many clients where they might go, when they tried to be unfair or avoid paying them. And her words were not empty/idle threats. A woman who only went to Jr. College in Kansas City, she knew her way around law and business. I could see her holding off  the klan with a shot gun ( for imaginative purposes only). She and my dad taught us what a marriage should be, and made the standard pretty tough to live up too by virtue of exposure to theirs.

Mom taught me things without ever saying a word, but I understood the lesson. I could tell her anything and  I did.She told me I was independent and self assured, I merely followed the example she set forth for me. Even when I did not believe I could do something I tried because I knew she expected that from me. I had never seen anything different from her and I knew she was watching me, if only in spirit. I tried to make her proud of me because I loved and admired her more than I have words for.

We lost her last year on October 30th 2015. I have not stopped crying, though I am told I will. I know I will forever miss her. I try to be happy and move on because she clearly thought I was strong and brave like her, but that was an illusion. I could be as she imagined I was, when she was here nearby here on Earth. More of the illusion. Now I am left to fly solo, and if you think that just because you are 50+ years old you do not need your mother you are grossly mistaken. Therefore, on what would have been her 83rd birthday I would like to pay tribute to my mom, Lorene Cates. You were the smart, strong compassionate, loving and beautiful woman I aspire to be. To this day, Mom I am in awe of you, my love is everlasting.

 

 

 

 

Eating Brussel Sprouts

Okay I am not a fan, I have eaten them before and feel pretty confident if I never have them again I would be fine with this. What I am attempting to do is present a metaphor that helps explain views and vantage points.

So here is my little story.  I wake up knowing I will be having brussel sprouts. I don’t know when or how but I know I will have to somehow eat something I don’t like, something that has sickened me, and may eventually bring about my demise because I have had an allergic reaction to it. You may ask ,”why do I eat the brussel sprouts?” When I tell you I live with the someone who knows all this about me and brussel sprouts but refuses to believe me, take my feelings and concerns to heart, and out and out disregards me. This someone justifies this treatment because they have convinced themselves that I will build up a resistance to my reaction to brussel sprouts, or it may eventually cause a more long terms negative affect. In either case, comfortable or not, I serve their purpose. I imagine that your response is well you need to get away from that someone?

Leave; It is not that simple. Moving alone is both complex and difficult. Change hard to digest.  I can tell you this the place where I dwell, is as much mine as it is theirs. At first I was both dependent and beholding to this someone. In spite of the fact I was treated badly from the beginning of our relationship, I did what I had to do to survive. Times have changed, expectations are different, but attitudes are holding steadfast. The only thing I really need from this someone is a FAIR chance or at least the appearance of FAIR. That is a battle I am well aware of and able to fight, but no longer am I accepting of the blatant. My someone now seems HELL BENT  on  being blatant. “Put me in my place”, if you will. This tells me there is no care or concern. You now leave me no options but to look out for myself, protect myself, fight a “no hold barred” match.  Are you ready?

You who have had home field advantage, you who have change the rules in the middle of the game, you who have had time to prepare unaffected and uninterrupted by the realities of survival in a hostel environment. You are a gambler, but you have always gambled with the deck stacked. I have NOTHING to lose, are you sure you want to play roulette with me now? Check that pantry out, there really is something else in there besides those brussel sprouts.

Albert and Lorene’s Children

Just like it was yesterday, I remember the snow glistening early Christmas morning. It was before 7 A.M. and since we had already opened up our presents at home it was time to cross the street and see what Grandma Cates, Uncle Bill, and Aunt Elinor had for us too. I lied to mom and said I saw lights and movement. Who did I think I was fooling? I was willing to take a chance; for as long as I could remember you really didn’t get in trouble during Christmas break, unless you did something really bad.   In a few hours we’d all be at 1240 Nebraska Avenue with our big fabulous family. Relatives would travel from all over to spend a few days with the Cates Matriarch. I did not realize how amazing it was to be in the same house with so many people who were so closely connected. I did know it was fun.

In the years that followed we would give up the snow and cold for short sleeves and sunshine of California. We spent years with my mother’s mom now. Her family was equally large, but the connection was different they were not as close. My dad still loved Christmas; from the horrible sugary sweets he loved to purchase at Sears in downtown Inglewood to  the outdoor lights he could never decide on which color he preferred. Mom always looked at the clean-up. As their offspring we gravitated toward dad’s preference. The older we got the less compelled mom was to decorate. Somehow we always managed to convince her we’d help clean up “this time”.

We lost dad almost 29 years ago, mom left us this past October. Like the song says,” Christmas Won’t Be The Same This Year”. We are left with our memories and our hearts are filled with sadness because we miss our Mom and Dad. As an adult you don’t think of being orphaned, but it happens just the same. In our adult bodies, our child minds look for the two people who could advise and guide us through this trauma, but they are nowhere to be found. People tell you reassuring comforting things, but you are NOT reassured nor are you comforted.  We are children sitting on the sofa in age order waiting for Mom and Dad to walk through that door and make everything alright again.

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